Inside The Huddle: Premium Sales With Brett Zalaski

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In the buildup to Front Office Sports’ Ticketing Huddle at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 10, we’re introducing you to the huddle leaders who will be lending their expertise to the conversation.

Today, meet Brett Zalaski, founder of Empowerment of a Salesperson as well as Get After It Sales. Zalaski will be one of the leaders of the huddle “The Experience Economy: Navigating Shifting Premium Sales Demands.”

Zalaski’s 15-plus-year career in sports includes very productive stints as the Senior Director of Ticket Sales with the Columbus Crew, Vice President of the Houston Dynamo, and Director of Major League Soccer’s National Sales Center. In the latter position, 30 of Zalaski’s graduates went on to become managers or directors in MLS. With the Crew, Zalaski’s efforts helped the team lead MLS in average attendance increase during his tenure.

In 2014, Zalaski also founded Get After It Sales, which conducts training sessions with sales reps and teams from across the sports industry. Additionally, Zalaski started empoweredsalesperson.com in 2018, where he shares a series of blogs and podcasts dedicated to arming ticket salespeople and sales managers with the knowledge they need to succeed both personally and professionally.

In his time training the next generation of successful ticket reps, Zalaski believes the number one mistake that new reps make is getting caught up in busy work as opposed to interfacing with clients.

“They get so focused on doing their job that they forget to do real actions that will both help sell tickets and make them better salespeople,” he states.

Premium sales, on the other hand, it is a far more nuanced conversation given it is generally business-to-business as opposed to business-to-consumer.

“I think teams sometimes just promote people without giving real, significant B2B training and just hope that a good salesperson selling to their grandmother will be just as good as good at selling to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That’s not reality,” Zalaski says. “It is significantly more nuanced than that. The important thing there, though, is that it is one of the most translatable skills you can find. If you can sell to a business, you’ll have a job for the rest of your life.”

READ MORE: Inside The Huddle: Premium Membership with Andrew Puzyk

For any college or high school student looking to one day build a career in sports ticket sales, Zalaski believes that constantly learning and networking is a big part of achieving success.

“In a lot of ways, I think college students just kind of jump into it and in many cases sport management programs don’t always adequately prepare students for what lies ahead,” he says. “So on the ticket sales side, educate yourself about what goes into it. Reach out to people who have been there before. Read about it. Attend seminars Understanding what you’re getting into is really critical.”

Meet Brett and hear more of his thoughts on the current ticketing space at the Front Office Sports Ticketing Huddle at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, CA on May 10. For tickets and additional info, click here.